40 answers

Feeding Dilema

I have a 3 week old daughter. She seems to be eating between 3 and 4 oz of formula at each sitting. However, the times she eats vary- sometimes,it's every 3,or 4 hours, and other times, 2 and a half hours. I'm concerned that she is being overfed. I've heard conflicting advice- some people I talk to say babies don't over eat, and others tell me they do. Please help. I just want to make sure it's okay to be feeding her as much as I have been.

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At this age she wont be trying to get by eating.Feed her until she stops eating. As she gets older she will adjust to a a feeding schedule.Its ok to feed her as often as she needs right now.

Hi, My daughter did the same thing, and my doc said she will eat when she is hungry. I just fed her as she seemed to want a bottle and she did just fine. She grew according to the growth charts and was on target for all developments. Babies seem to have a built in signal to tell them when they are full. Hope this helps. K.

When my daughter was born I breast feed but also supplemented with formula. While I was at work my mother took care of her and my mother was one when the child was hungry you fed them. My Mom has done this with all of her grandchildren and they were all healthy babies. Most of the grandchildren are grown now except for mine she is now 10 and none of them have problems with their weight. Once they start crawling and walking they will lose the weight, that has been my theory. Hopes this helps.

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Babies can be forced to overeat when parents try to stick to strict feeding schedules or pop a bottle in the mouth every time they cry, but if she is genuinely hunger feed her, it won't hurt her. If your really concerned, call your doctor.

Hi S.,
You are fine and your baby is fine. She will let you know when she is full. Every day won't be the same. Just like we have have days where we eat more often/less often, the same applies to babies. She'll hold her lips/gums together when she doesn't want anymore.

With my first child, I had the same concerns. But I have been reassured that they do not over eat. But that you can over feed. Meaning that you need to watch them for the signs of them telling you that they are done. They know how much they need to eat and when to eat and that this is all instictive. Schedule eating is taught. Some dieticians will tell you that it is a bad habit that we as adults do and if we went back to eating like babies - a little every couple of hours - we would have less issues with obiesity.

Hi S.. My little girl was the same way. It seemed like I was always trying to feed her and worring about over feeding and under feeding. My experience is she will let you know when she is hungry. If she is overeating there will probably be alot of spitup. She is now 11 months and 3 weeks so we made it through and she is perfect. Good luck!

I think you should talk with your doctor. Babies don't over eat generally. I have a 7 month old and sometimes she eats every 5 to 6 hours and sometimes she wants a bottle 3 hours after eating. We don't eat on a schedule, we eat when we are hungry.

Congrats on your little girl. I breast fed and supplimented one meal a day at 4 weeks. She nursed every 45 minutes for the first 5 weeks(Mommy was a zombie). Some babies have eating spurts, some just eat all the time. She would take 3-5 oz at each feeding, like she was starving. It leveled off at 5 weeks and then hit another spurt at 13 weeks. Go with the flow. She will tell you what she needs. As long as she isn't getting sick or excessively gassy, she must be doing fine!

Hi, My daughter did the same thing, and my doc said she will eat when she is hungry. I just fed her as she seemed to want a bottle and she did just fine. She grew according to the growth charts and was on target for all developments. Babies seem to have a built in signal to tell them when they are full. Hope this helps. K.

When my daughter was born I breast feed but also supplemented with formula. While I was at work my mother took care of her and my mother was one when the child was hungry you fed them. My Mom has done this with all of her grandchildren and they were all healthy babies. Most of the grandchildren are grown now except for mine she is now 10 and none of them have problems with their weight. Once they start crawling and walking they will lose the weight, that has been my theory. Hopes this helps.

I think you feed a newborn on demand. My daughter ate sometimes every hour, sometimes could go 3-4 hours. She ate in clusters, and then would take a longer break, and then in a cluster again. Was completely random for about 6 wks before she settled into a 2-3 hr routine. I breastfed, so not sure how much she ate always, but when I pumped and we gave her a bottle, she would take about 3oz. I think you're daughter is fine. Just let her do her thing, eat as much as she wants for now, she'll settle into a routine as time goes on.

S., I am a 45 yr. old mom and grandmother. My daughter has a 71/2 month old baby boy. He weighs 22lbs. He ate just like your daughter did. They will eat when they are hungry. It maybe sooner or later it just depends on the child. Feed her when she is hungry and don't worry about the rest. She will let you know when she has had enough or not enough. As she get older you can give her a little ceral and milk and that will keep her for a little longer at feedings because, her tummy will be fuller and she will be content. You will know....Remember, You are her mother...And...Congratulations.....Mrs. R. B

After working in a pediatric office for 7 years, the rule of thumb is as much as they want, as often as they want, as long as there is no projectile vommiting. Different growth spurts at different times, means different eating habits at different times.

Hi S.,

It's been a loooong time for me as even my youngest grandson is already 6. However, I did want to congratulate you on the birth of your daughter and wish you many blessings. You have chosen a rough road as a single mom. Both my daughters are single moms - one, now a mom of 4; the other, a mom of one. Even though they say it's tough, they also say their children are worth everything.

As time passes, you will learn her different cries and "just know" what she needs or wants. Could be she needs a dry diaper, other times she's hungry, and even other times, she may just need to be cuddled - don't forget she was in a 'cocoon' for about nine months and it could be scary reaching out and touching nothing.

You are doing a great job! The general rule of thumb I've always heard for that age is they should eat every three hours but its not an exact science. Since she's eating close to within that time frame, you probably don't need to worry. At her next dr. appt make sure that her weight gain is on track just to help ease your concerns. Babies know when they are hungry and when they are full unlike us. If you can spare free time read "Secrets of a Baby Whisperer". It saved my life. I've heard other people say that "Babywise" is another really good one. Don't worry- being concerned is what good mamas do.

In our overly looks-obsessed climate, many mothers worry that they are going to set bad eating habits for their children. Babies know when they need to eat, sleep, poop, cry and everything in-between. In a lot of ways, they are more in tune with their bodies than we are. Let your baby eat! Nibble and kiss and photograph all of the baby fat rolls because they are gone sooner than you think!! Mine is almost two and it went by like a bullet train. Good luck and enjoy every minute as much as you can!

I would encourage you to read the book Baby Wise. It is a great book. Let me give you a brief review of the book. It says that babies need to be feed parent-direct feedings. Stating that you decide when to feed them. I have a 5 month old and we started with 3 to 4 hours between feedings. At 2 2/12 months he started sleeping through the night and it is awesome. If you can get on a schdeule it makes life so much easier and the baby will like it too. I was told by my ped. that babies do not know the difference when their stomach is hurting because the are hungry or they have gas or they have are overeating. I would do every 3 hrs and not to let the baby go more than 4 hours. I am telling you that book was a life-saver for me.

I saw that someone else recommended BABY WISE. I did this with my 2nd and 3rd children and it worked great. I don't believe in being legalistic in using it, but as a guideline, it was wonderful. My boys ate about every three hours for the first couple of months. It was nice to be on a schedule, but having it flexible. I felt more in control of myself. Both of them were happy and healthy babies.

I am the mother of a 4 year old girl and a 6 month old girl. My 6 month old hasn't been on a schedule ever as far as feeding goes, when she cries I feed her, if that's not what she wants she won't eat it. I asked my pediatrician and he said that babies WILL NOT eat if they're not hungry. So feed your baby as much as she wants. And remember they go thru growth spurts at times that can make them eat more and sometimes it hurts to eat when they're teething so they won't eat as much.

At 3 weeks old, I would let your baby eat her fill. When my daughter was 3 weeks she was eating 2-3 ounces every hour and a half- round the clock! Right around 6 weeks she started sleeping 7-10 hours straight through the night. I really think this is related to her getting her belly full during the day. At one time or another both of my girls have over-eaten. The result? Projectile vomiting! If her tummy is getting too full, she'll let you know!

I have 3 kids, 19, 13, 12. They were the same way. I cheated later when they were about 3 months and added a very minute amount of cereal to the formula because I still felt like they weren't getting enough to eat. She will continue to eat like this until you are able to put her on cereal. As long as she is having healthy bowel habits she's doing good. sounds like you may need some rest though...huh? smile. a little secret, it gets easier and I've been missing it. God Bless!

i am not sure if you are nursing (you mentioned a bottle but didn't say if it was breastmilk) my son was up often too - and there were so many reasons for what it could be - growth spurt, comfort, teething, getting ready to reach a milestone or just met one. there's a great website called www.kellymom.com that is full of helpful info. i also pulled this article from my pediatrician's website - he is one of the few male lactation consultants and is so helpful when it comes to nursing as he really knows his info!! many pediatricians do not!! in your case - whether or not you are nursing - only you know your baby. EVERY baby is dif't - so what holds true for one will not for another. some babies need to eat more often, some need more comfort and reassurance. my son is about to be 4 years old - i never did cio, i always fed him on demand - and he is now a healthy, confident and wonderful little boy. so stick with your instinct and don't worry what others say your baby should be doing.

hang in there - this will pass and your baby will move on to another routine!! my son never took a bottle so i can completely relate to being tired - but i don't regret one minute of it! and just as so many other mamas have said - babies eat when they are hungry, sleep when they are tired and have better internal clocks and registers than most adults. they will not over/under-eat or over/under-sleep. they will do what their bodies need at this young age b/c that is all they know. please feel free to ask me any questions you may have!

from http://www.drjaygordon.com/development/bf/growspu.asp
Growth Spurts

By Cheryl Taylor, CBE

If there is a rule that would help moms survive growth spurts with a smile, it would have to be, "Don't Watch The Clock!" Don't watch the clock for how long baby has been nursing. Don't watch the clock for how long it's been since baby last wanted to nurse. Don't watch the clock for how many times you've been awakened that night to nurse.

Growth spurts happen. They happen with all nursing dyads. Some babies protest more about them and others seem to sail through them with the greatest of ease. Some books will tell you they happen at so many weeks or months. They may tend to, but the truth is, they can happen anytime.

Signs of a Growth Spurt

Baby is nursing often or almost nonstop
A baby who was previously sleeping through the night is now waking to nurse several times
Baby will latch and unlatch, fussing in between
These signs are all signals to the mom's body to "MAKE MORE MILK NOW!" Our bodies listen very well if we will merely respond to the baby's needs. The extra suckling will stimulate your body to make more milk.

Often Observed After a Growth Spurt

Baby sleeps extra for a day or two
Mom is a bit fuller than usual for a day or so
Baby calms down at the breast
You may see an increase in wettings with the increased supply baby is drinking
Growth spurts seem to throw new moms for a loop. Just when they thought they were beginning to understand their baby's signals, they abruptly changed. The frequent requests to nurse can be confusing as well as the frequency with which growth spurts happen within the first few months. The key is purely and simply to go with the flow (pun intended!) If you respond to your baby's signals to nurse during a growth spurt and do not interfere with them in any manner, your body will quickly respond and increase supply. Typically it happens within 24 to 48 hours. Sometimes growth spurts seem to drag on for a week. This would be a good time to make sure you're drinking plenty water.

Don't allow a growth spurt to rob you of your confidence in nursing. Instead, allow it to instill confidence in your ability to read your baby's cues. Your confidence will be further rewarded as your supply increases and your baby settles back down into a happy breastfeeding baby again, with a smart mommy who knew that sometimes baby really does know best and our job is to listen.

I am in the same boat...my 3 week old eats between 2-4 oz anywhere between 2-4 hours...its a handful, but I know it will get better. We fed my first daughter when we were supposed to. Ask your doctor how much she should be eating a day and then add up the ounces. It will make you feel better that she is not getting too much or not enough to eat.

Allow her to eat as much as she wants when she wants, during the infant stage. My daughter did the same thing. The night I brough her home from the hospital she sucked down a 4 oz bottle, and she was fine. Then there were time I could only get a couple of ounces down her. There are times that they can over eat and they will throw up what their tummies can't hold. You just have to pay attention to her and her wants and needs. What she does one week, she won't do the next and so on. I good routine is the key. After a few spit ups and extra feedings you'll figure out what works for her and what does not. Every child is different and needs to be fed differently.
Good Luck!!

Babies will eat when they are hungry. At this age they normally eat about every 2 - 3 hours about 2- 3 ounces. If your baby is throwing up after it eats then that may be telling you that you are over feeding it. One good advice to take though is even when you think it is time to eat NEVER WAKE A SLEEPING BABY TO EAT!!!! Hope this is helpful!!


My son is now 4 months old and has been eating around 28 oz./day since he was 4 weeks old and I definitely had the same concerns. He was downing 4 oz. like it was a snack at 3 weeks when his cousin who is 2 months older than him was still eating only 3 oz./meal. He now weighs 16 lbs and is "just a healthy baby" per his pediatrician. If you are concerned, just talk to your daughter's pediatrician, but I'll bet she'll let you know when she's full.

My son is now 10 weeks old, my second child, and he did and sometimes still does the same thinig. I've been told to feed them when they are hungary. I know alot of people like schedules, but if my baby is hungary after 2 or 3 hours, then I feed him and he has done fine. Most of the time now he goes 3-4 hours. I think they just go through growth spurts sometimes and need to eat more. I wouldn't worry.

A baby will let you know when they are full. They dont have the horrible habit of eating for fun, pleasure, sadness, stress like adults do. So if they respond very positively to more milk then give it to them.

This website has some good info on what to look for and how to figure out if you baby is gettting enough.


Remeber, all babies do not fit in the box we would like to put them in. Use your gut feeling.

Definately talk to your pediatrician. Other than that, I don't know that I have the answer. Is she burping fine and not spitting up or throwing up? She could just be hungrier at different times.

I have a thirteen month old boy and it is my first child. I was always told to feed a newborn when they are hungry. A three week old will eat every 2 to 4 hours that is very normal. You are not overfeeding your daughter. Remember they are growing and need to be feed and get the nutrients there body needs to develop. Good luck!

hope this helps u. i have a 19 month old she was the same way. just feed your daughter when she is hungry. or try uping her formula intake maybe another oz. but other then that when she is hungry feed her. my daughter is just fine. oh and when u start to feed her soilds which will be awhile let her eat some table scraps to so that way u wont have to bad of a picky eater. i did that with my daughter and good lord she eats everything even stuff i dont like. hope this helps u and enjoy her while she is little they grow up all to quick.

Breastfed babies can't overeat, due to the way the breast works. (They can suck all they want without overeating, sometimes just for comfort). So, if you are only feeding by breast, you have nothing to worry about.

I am also a first time mom in Petal. My baby ate anywhere between ever hour and a half to up to four hours. they're strange little creatures of their own habit. they'll let you know when they're hungry, believe me! and you're not overfeeding your baby, they stop when they're full. if not, you'll see it all over your shirt shortly after they're done! Just take it one day at a time, and don't sweat the small stuff. They'll let you know what they want, we just have to figure out what they're telling us :) --A. d

Hello S.,

Babies will generally not take a bottle after they're full. They might still have the nipple in their mouth, but they'll stop sucking. I don't think you should be concerned about this....it's very unlikely that the baby is taking a bottle without being hungry.

just let her eat. Babies are hungrier at times, just like we are. Don't overfeed her with volume though. By this I mean when you go up on volume, do so slowly and with caution. Trust your instincts. Mothers have been feeding on demand forever.

Babies eat when they are hungry, and stop when they aren't, but can be 'forced' to finish a bottle. Watch her as she eats, when you see her slowing down, or playing with the nipple without really drinking, take the bottle away, even if it isn't empty. She may only take 1 ounce and be hungry in an hour, or not hungry again for 4 hours. She may also take 4 ounces and act like she's starving again in an hour. She is going through growth spurts (just wait till your next ped visit - you'll be astounded how big she's getting!!) and her caloric needs will change day by day, hour by hour. At this age just let her be the one who sets the feeding schedule.
Babies cry when they are hungry, but also when they are uncomfortable, like needing a diaper change, too hot or cold, overstimulated, bored, tired, or just need to be snuggled. Over time you'll learn to tell what's going on with her, but for now, take a few minutes to check and see if something else could be making her cry before giving the bottle. They use sucking as a comfort measure - you'll see her more 'playing' with the nipple rather than drinking if something else besides hunger was the problem even though she'll take the bottle.

Hi the best advice I can give u is to go buy a book called on becoming babywise!!! Any book store will carry it and it is a complete lifesaver!! I didn't know about the book with my first child and she still doesn't sleep through the nigtht and my 1 year old has been since 7 wks old. It also tells all about feedings naptimes, different things that could be wrong with them when they cry! It is wonderful however there is some controversy over it. The book doesn't say do exactly as we tell you it simply gives suggestions and u are to do with it as u want to. But some people have taken it to the extreme and done everything by the book and u just can't do that. This book wasn't written for me or u as a mother but for all mothers out there and the authors know that every child/parent is different. So upon saying that I love this book. At first u have to let them cry themselves to sleep but u are allowed to go in and comfort them every ten minutes. But the times they cry get shorter and shorter and now when my little one starts rubbing her eyes I lay her down and within 5 minutes she is asleep and if she doesn't go right to sleep she plays in there. And I love it because if she really cries and does so more than a second, then I know there is really something wrong and I need to diagnose what the problem is!!! So I hope u take the advice it worked great for me!

In my opinion your baby knows when it is hungry. Keep this in mind, a baby's hungry pains, HURT. They are like 100 times worse than an adults. Okay check the diaper, you can try burping, but when all else fails feed your baby. Yes they will get nice and pump,(that's why it is called baby fat) but as soon as they start crawling and walking all of extra weight will come off.

I have raised two sons my 27 year old is 5'9" weighs 150, my 18 6'0' weighs 120. And believe you me they were both well feed babies. ____@____.com

Our style was feed a hungry baby. And ALWAYS let him/her eat that way. A healthy child will not overeat or starve themselves if we let them listen to their bodies. How many times as a child did you say I'm hungry and an adult tell you " no your not, it's not time for dinner". We didn't want our son to have the food issues we did about cleaning plate etc. So we always feed a hungry baby. Our Ped. was of the same style, THey closely monitor the babies weight and growth so they will tell you if they are eating too much and help you reduce if neccessary.

You are doing fine. trust your instincts. thats why you have them

For the first several months of my sons life, he would suck down (literally down a bottle in under 5 minutes) a 4 oz bottle every 2 hours. At 6 weeks, I started putting rice cereal in his bottle with his formula (per pediatricians tips) and then he was able to go every 3 hours. He ate like that even when introducing foods and milk. It slowed down around 10 months old. He was never a fat/chunky baby. He was never puny or skinny either. He is now about to be 3 next month and has still never been close to chunky. He would go through periods where he would not eat alot or very often, but then he would go through a growth spurt and chow down at every meal like I was starving him.

You are the parent and just go with your natural instincts!

My gut feeling is you can't overfeed a baby. It is important that you don't worry about a "fat" baby, because being overweight is a lifestyle of not exerising, eating wrong foods AND eating too much. She is getting the right food, and is exercising by merely growing so can't be hurt be eating more calories than she is eating.

Still my advice is to get her on a schedule. I would start feeding her every 2 1/2 hours (except at night, let her wake you up to eat). Don't wait for longer than that, that is don't wait for her to express that she is hungry. Then in a week, take it to 3 hours for a few weeks, then by 6 weeks have her at 3 1/2 then at 4 hours by 8-10 weeks. A good indicator to change feeding intervals is that she doesn't seem that hungry when you are feeding her at her normal time. Only spread it out 30 minutes, trying that interval for a week. Having her on a schedule will help you to be secure that she is getting enough, make it easier to predict when she sleeps and eats and will help her to sleep through the night by 12 weeks. My feeling too is that formula fed babies are plumper. Babies that are fed enough are usually fussier and can't sleep as much. The most important thing to remember is that at this age you can't feed her too much, she needs what she can get. I also feel that if you give her all the food she needs right now, she will be less likely to be overweight because she won't be in the mode of "I'm hungry now so I must eat as much as possible, since who knows when I will be fed again" Remember too that she needs any padding she might have for when she gets sick.

Please feel welcome to write me back if any of this is confusing and I will clarify. this system worked great for me and my family. I am all done with babies now so I am happy to help. A.


i am a single mother of a almost four week old boy... The time between when he eats also varys. I have been talking to my mom about it and she has told me that me and my three sisters did the same thing and that it is normal! I think that both my son and your daughter are fine. :)


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